Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Education Office

The Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Education Office (HASS) is the administrative arm of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS). The HASS Overview Committee (HOC), to which the HASS Office provides all administrative and clerical support, resumed licensing of HASS-D subjects this year—new and renewal—as well as approving new HASS Communication Intensive (CI-H) subjects and dealing with many other HASS curriculum issues. The HOC began to discuss the matter of overlap between HASS-D and CI-H subjects, in light of the confusion this causes for students and others, and to consider options for changes. The committee will continue to work on this issue in the upcoming year. The director of the HASS Education Office, Dr. Bette Davis, serves as ex officio member of the HOC, and her assistant, Andrea Wirth, took the minutes. In addition to working with the HOC, the office has continued its normal work, which includes producing the HASS Guide each term, handling HASS concentrations and minors, the Harvard Cross-Registration Program, and compiling various statistics for the dean. We also maintained five databases: the CI-H, HASS Minor, Course 21 Majors, Harvard Cross-Registration, and "Mailing List" databases.

Bette Davis has continued to be involved with the undergraduate exchange component of the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI )—specifically, helping to facilitate MIT students' receiving HASS credit for papers done at Cambridge. As part of this effort, she traveled to Cambridge in early October.

HASS Enrollment Statistics by Field and Subject: Recent Trends

Total enrollment in all HASS subjects was up slightly, from 9,804 a year ago to 9,861. This was the case despite the fact that fewer HASS subjects were offered—454, compared to 474 in 2001–2002. There were 25 fewer autonomous sections—575 for AY2003 and 600 for AY2002. The number of HASS-D subjects taught was almost exactly the same—111, compared to 112 last year. The two fields with the largest overall enrollments were the same as last year, in the same order: 1,737 in Economics (up from 1,604 last year) and 1,613 in Foreign Languages and Literatures (up from 1,532 last year). Fields with third and fourth highest enrollments also remained the same: Literature (920) and Writing (799). These were followed by Music (730—not including six-unit music performance subjects) and Philosophy (652). Among the various disciplines in HASS, there was a considerable range, from experiencing a significant drop in enrollments to remaining stable to those fields that saw a significant increase. Women's Studies (from 83 to 108) and Theater Arts (from 275 to 346) had the largest increases over last year in terms of percentages (30 percent and 26 percent, respectively). These were followed by Science, Technology, and Society (STS) (12 percent or from 237 to 266) and Economics (8 percent or from 1,604 to 1,737). The next highest increases in enrollment, in terms of percentage, were in music and archaeology, each with 7 percent.

HASS Concentrations: Patterns of Popularity

In 2002–2003, students submitted 2,249 HASS concentration proposals and 1,245 completion forms, compared to 2,090 proposals and 1,184 completion forms last year. Once again, Economics and Foreign Languages led in the number of completed HASS Concentrations: in 2002–2003, 363 students completed concentrations in Economics (compared to 337 last year) and 245 completed concentrations in Foreign Languages and Literatures (compared to 214 last year). The next two most popular HASS concentration fields are Music, with 83 completed concentrations, and Political Science, with 64, followed by Writing (57), Literature (56), Psychology (51), and Philosophy (48).

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HASS Minor Programs

Academic year 2003 showed a decrease in the total number of HASS minor applications from all graduating classes—432, compared to 445 last year. The number of HASS minors received by the Class of 2003 was also down—186, compared to 217 last year. The two most popular fields in terms of applications filed were the same as last year: Economics (196) and Music (37). There were 30 minors in Literature, 28 in Foreign Languages (2 in Chinese, 6 in French, 5 in German, and 15 in Spanish), 25 in Writing, 19 in Comparative Media Studies, and 17 in Political Science. The 186 HASS minors received by members of the Class of 2003 were in 19 fields.

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Harvard Cross-Registration

The number of MIT undergraduates cross-registered for courses at Harvard increased in 2002–2003. A total of 263 students took 280 subjects at Harvard, compared to 235 students enrolled in 251 subjects in 2001–2002. Last year there was a decrease; the previous year saw a sizable increase in these enrollments; and the year prior to that there had been a decrease. They seem to fluctuate for no obvious reason. As usual, foreign languages were by far the most popular field of study. Of the 280 subjects, 133 were in 23 different foreign languages. The most popular language was Hebrew (18). It was followed by Urdu-Hindi (17), Korean (13), Chinese (12), and Italian (11). Enrollments in other languages ranged from 1 to 10. The most popular field outside foreign languages was government (16). Following government, other popular fields were psychology (14), economics (13), biology (12) and English (11) followed by computer science (9) and statistics (8).

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Undergraduate Degrees Granted in SHASS

A total of 92 students received the SB in SHASS this year, up from 85 last year. Of these, 44 degrees were in Economics (Course 14) and 13 were in Political Science (Course 17). During the same time period, September 2002 through June 2003, a total of 29 students completed the SB degree in Humanities (Course 21). Nine of these received joint degrees—7 in 21-E and 2 in 21-S. Another 13 received degrees in a specified field within Course 21. Two students received the SB in Philosophy and two others received the SB in Linguistics and Philosophy (Course 24). Two students were awarded the SB in Science, Technology, and Society.

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Undergraduate Majors in SHASS

The four departments in SHASS had 140 undergraduate majors this year; this figure includes only first degrees. Eighty of these are majoring in Economics, and the Political Science Department had 23 majors. Twenty-nine students had a Humanities major as their first degree in 2002–2003; of these, 7 were joint majors (6 in 21-E and 1 in 21-S.) Of the specified majors within Humanities, History, Music, and Writing had the most majors, with 5 each. Six undergraduates had a first degree in Philosophy or in Linguistics and Philosophy. Two students majored in STS.

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Honors and Awards Granted to Undergraduate Majors in SHASS

Among the more notable honors achieved by SHASS majors this year were the following:

Bette Davis

More information about the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Education Office can be found on the web at


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